BWW Reviews: ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS, Three Thousand Laughs at Rivertown
Ok so here's the deal... I like to laugh. No, I love to laugh. You know when something tickles your fancy and you start laughing so hard that you just can't control yourself? I'm talking tears (and quite possibly snot) running down your very red face, and your cheeks and belly hurting so bad you only wish you could stop? It's literally the best feeling in the entire world, and it only happens once in a blue moon. But when it does... man... you just feel great for the next 24 hours because (whatever it was) made you that happy? If you saw ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS at Rivertown Theaters for the Performing Arts, you for sure know what I'm talking about. Can I get an "Amen!"? Shout out to director Ricky Graham and this cast of true comedians for putting on one of the most delightful shows I've seen so far this season.
I had no idea what this show was about other than it was "supposed to be kind of funny" when I walked into the theater. I had done exactly zero minutes of research on it, and I'm actually glad I didn't because it turned out to be such a great surprise!
The premise of this show is that there's this goofy fellow named Francis Henshall who is newly employed by this gangster guy named Roscoe Crabbe. Except Roscoe was actually murdered by his twin sister Rachel's boyfriend Stanley Stubbers, so the person Francis thinks is Roscoe is actually Rachel in disguise. Here's the thing, Roscoe/Rachel's lover Stanley is also in the mix because he has employed Francis as well. Neither Rachel nor Stanley knows that Francis is working for the other, but they are both in Brighton to find each other. Since, as previously mentioned, Francis is a bit of a goofball, he has a hilariously difficult time keeping his jobs straight. Quite frankly, I'm impressed with myself for keeping the plot straight so I understand Francis' frequent confusion.
But, you see, the plot doesn't end there. We've also got Pauline Clench who has been promised by her father, Charlie "The Duck," to marry Roscoe. But, when Roscoe is found to be dead, she then becomes engaged to her true love Alan Dangle, the crazy weirdo actor. Seriously... he's so dramatic and strange. Of course her engagement to Alan gets messed up when Rachel dressed as Roscoe shows up and they all think Roscoe is alive. So then there's this whole thing where Pauline is caught between marrying Roscoe/Rachel because her dad says so and marrying Alan Dangle because she loves him. You guys, this play is insane. It's super brilliant!
Dear Chris Marroy, where did you come from?! For real, with all of the live theatre I have the pleasure of attending I don't know how I've never seen or heard of this guy before, but shame on me. I think the entire audience would agree with me that Marroy has an undeniable gift for comedy. I mean of course he had the help of a wonderful script written by Richard Bean, but it takes a truly smart actor to take what's written in a script and make it fly off of the page. The best actors are the ones who have convinced you that they're not actually acting, that what you're seeing is real life. He worked hard for this show. I particularly enjoyed the bits where Marroy interacted with audience members. First, any sort of audience participation in shows has the effect of making people completely panic ("Oh no, please not me!"), which is in and of itself hilarious to watch. You can actually hear sighs of relief when someone other than yourself is "the chosen one" (tip: never sit in the front row or on an aisle, and never wear a Hawaiian shirt). But then, you take a sweaty, snarky actor who can improvise with the best of them and you've not only induced widespread panic, you've embarrassed the hell out of your reluctant participants making the situation all the funnier.
Why the audience was not on their feet roaring with applause at this marathon of a play's conclusion on the night I attended is beyond me. Heck, they should have been standing on their chairs. It was that good.
I'm going to take a moment here to talk about something I've noticed at Rivertown the past few plays I've attended. There are hardly any young people in the audiences! "But PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was at the Saenger," you whine... I know, I know. But you guys, this is QUALITY theatre that you're missing out on. I promise you this is good stuff. No... great stuff!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to the cast and crew of ONE MAN, TWO GUVNORS for one of the most belly busting nights of comedy I've experienced.
In the spirit of the holiday season, Rivertown's next show is A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Get over there and see the show! Tickets can be purchased here.